Safeguarding the Museum’s Collection

Conservation staff is responsible for safeguarding the Museum’s collections and ensuring their long-term preservation through both prevention and treatment. At MOA, preventive conservation is a key part of the conservation process. One of MOA’s primary concerns is to maintain an environment that will slow down the deterioration of the materials from which the objects are made. To do this, conservators monitor and control such factors as light, air pollution, humidity and temperature. When unchecked, these may lead to problems such as fading, mould growth, corrosion and tarnishing, all of which can cause irreparable damage.

Conservators are trained to preserve museum collections according to a professional code of ethics. However, the term “preservation” is subject to more than one interpretation. The term usually implies using physical and scientific methods to ensure that material fragments from the past do not disappear but it also often means to continue and/or to renew past traditions and their associated material culture; in other words, preserving the past by being actively engaged in it, and thereby ensuring its living future. In recognition of this, MOA’s philosophy of care and access is dynamic and evolves as new projects and protocols are developed with originating communities regarding the care and use of cultural material housed at MOA.


The following resources were developed by conservation staff for presentation, publication or public and staff education and provide information relating to various aspects of collections care.

Mount Making Poster

In 2004, MOA began a sizable renewal and expansion project that included rehousing 15,000 objects from MOAʼs diverse collection.

Black Tray Manual

This manual discusses the foam and matboard mounting system used by MOA. These mounts are used for both the display storage of the museum’s collections.

MOA Conservation Handbook

This Handbook is intended to provide the volunteers at MOA with a basic understanding of conservation.

Conservation Team

Heidi Swierenga

Senior Conservator - Dept Head

Mauray Toutloff